Saturday, August 15, 2009

Government’s only tool is force, and force is usually the worst possible tool to apply in social matters. July 1993 - The Road to Freedom George Roche, President, Hillsdale College What Free Men Know "...For nearly a century, the Left in this country has claimed that socialism, whether represented by Soviet-style communism or European-style socialism, is morally superior to our market-based capitalist system. They have criticized every aspect of America, all the while chanting their chants and rattling their bones. They have compared our “failures,” real and imagined, with their utopian pipe dreams. Through the testimony of those forced to live under communism and socialism, we know that the truth is exactly the opposite of all the promises. In the former Soviet Union, in the name of “equality” and “economic justice,” the party bosses gave themselves a cut of the wealth one hundred to one thousand times greater than that of the masses. They created a ruling class, the nomenklatura, more autocratic and exploitative than the tsars. In a system much like apartheid, except far more virulent, they reserved for themselves all the top jobs, the best education, the best medical care, and up to 100 percent of the quality goods sold in special stores that only they could patronize. So shamelessly did the nomenklatura bleed workers that, by some of their own calculations, it was estimated that 86.5 percent of the Soviet population were dirt poor. Many did not have running water or electricity. Only 11.2 percent of the population could be called middle class. That left just 2.3 percent with virtually all the power and privilege; and among these was a “super-elite” of about 400,000 people who alone had access to such luxuries as the system was able to import. The promises were all frauds. “Power to the people” turned out to be totalitarian power in the hands of a tiny, highly privileged ruling class. “Economic justice” turned out to be rank exploitation. Recent years have been bad for the nomenklatura and good for the people. The cause of freedom has blossomed not only in Eastern Europe and Russia but around the world. Today, for the first time in history, a greater number of the world’s people are free than are not. Many more enjoy some limited freedoms, and free nations outnumber the unfree. Free men know what tyrants never learn, that the ultimate economic resource is the mind and energy of a free person. Only from a free mind comes the direction of all productivity and the innovation that is tomorrow’s prosperity... Tomorrow’s Agenda As I said at the outset, communism is dying, but we need no more than the unrepentant Left to remind us that the war of ideas is not over. It may even grow more intense. The rejection of communism leaves a vacuum that other “isms” and ideologies will rush to fill. Certainly among them will be milder forms of socialism that build the power of the state. It is the business of all who stand for individual rights in a civilized order to refute these efforts and make our own ideas heard. The answer to bad ideas is good ideas. Let us never forget that the war of ideas is a real war, with real casualties should we fail. One cannot predict the politics and perils of tomorrow exactly, but the enemies of the moral order change little. We know them. We can in some measure anticipate their assaults by their beliefs and goals and plan our own strategy accordingly. The enemy, as ever, will be the exploiters, the wielders of power and privilege. They will take positions against the traditional and the normal, against home and family, against distinction between man and woman, against human nature itself: positions which, on analysis, will treat people as mere conveniences to somebody’s plans, not as individuals of infinite worth. Whatever they seek, they will be armed with ideological formulas and warped words. Above all, they will try to force their schemes on us, using the power of government. Such resort to government “solutions” always seems to me a giveaway that something wrong or dishonest is involved. In freedom, persuasion—not coercion—is the way to get one’s ideas across, and the only way. Imposing them by law denies to others their liberty, their dignity, their right to their own opinions. It is, in fact, an act of contempt toward them and an act of pride in oneself—a claim to know better than we what is best for us. In the view of Nobel laureate E A. von Hayek, this is the “fatal conceit.” In the Judeo-Christian view, it is sin. Deep down, it implies a false, secularist view of life that throughout this century has been at war with Western, and especially American, ideals. It is precisely the kind of thinking that has collapsed due to hard experience in Eastern Europe and Russia; but it is still rampant here. We need not know the whys and wherefores of a given statist scheme to realize that it serves bent thinking and bad purposes. It will, of course, be made to sound good, as if it were correcting injustice instead of creating it, or helping the needy instead of making them dependent and helpless. It will, of course, have the support of all the familiar “opinion makers” in the academy, the media and the Washington Beltway. But it is going to cost us dearly, not only in taxes and liberty but in moral values. Certainly in the coming years we will have to deal with liberalism, a set of once-noble ideas that sold its soul to statism decades ago and now grows more decadent every day. It remains strong, but as a reflex. Tap any liberal with a rubber hammer, and an informed person can predict where the knee will jerk. The reflex the Left constantly encourages is: Uncle Sam is there to do what individuals can’t or won’t accomplish on their own. If we agree with this reflex, we forget the basic facts of life. Government can’t do anything for us without first taking from us the means to do it. Government’s only tool is force, and force is usually the worst possible tool to apply in social matters. Neither must we forget that we ourselves, as free men and women, are the doers, builders and producers. Running to Uncle Sam with our problems only takes away from our own freedom and resourcefulness. We have, I’m afraid, lost our fear of big government, and we had better regain it soon. America is not immune to suffocation by an Old World-type state, any more than Eastern Europe or Russia has been. Our survival is at stake. We are seeing momentous change around us, but cannot be sure where it will take us. Will a springtime of liberty bloom into a full summer of peace? Or will our hopes collapse before some new peril? Surely it is up to us to create the right tomorrow for our children by taking charge today. There has never been a generation in the history of the world that has had such an enormous opportunity to make a clear choice and to have such a strong hand in implementing that choice. We can play our part in shaping the world now emerging, or we can stand aside and be overrun. The other side is working against us. We have to be better. We have to lead with the right ideas..." --------- Paul Revere's Ride -- By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. When I read this poem I can not help but think that America is finally waking up from its sleep. Who is Raila Odinga? And why did Obama copy his slogan? How is that change working for you? Just check off what he has done TO YOU...NOT for you. Anything that is worth something -- You have to work for it. No one is going to give you gas to put in your car. No one is going to pay your mortgage. Same for healthcare just tell Obama to keep his change. -- Utopian socialism

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